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American Airlines greatly improves automatic mileage reinstatement for award tickets

June 25, 2020
3 min read
American Airlines greatly improves automatic mileage reinstatement for award tickets
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American Airlines has made quite a few changes to the AAdvantage program since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

It all started when the carrier announced that it's extending elite status through Jan. 31, 2022. As part of the news, AA also announced some creative and generous promotions, including the ability to earn Million Miler status from credit card spend.

However, buried in the announcement was a change to the award change and redeposit fee structure that wasn't necessarily good news, depending on how you redeem your miles. The positive is that all awards can now be changed or canceled 60 or more days before departure. The negative is that you can no longer make free date and time changes that were otherwise allowed under the program.

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On April 24, the carrier quietly introduced automatic mileage reinstatement for canceled awards. Previously, you'd need to call in to cancel any of your AAdvantage awards and get your miles put back in your account. With the new feature, eligible trips can be canceled and redeposited through the website.

Though automatic mileage reinstatement was great news, unfortunately very few tickets were eligible for the service.

Just two months later, the carrier has made another quiet — but very positive — update by expanding eligibility for this service. Specifically, you can now cancel your awards online and automatically get the miles back so long as your ticket qualifies for a free redeposit.

Related: Why now is the perfect time to book American Airlines awards

Previously, automatic mileage reinstatement post-July 1 was limited to Executive Platinum members traveling as a single passenger, booked with the member's miles.

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Now that AA has updated the ticket eligibility, many more customers can take advantage of this time-saving feature. If you book any award in the month of June, your ticket has free cancellations and can be automatically redeposited, regardless of the number of passengers or your elite status. And going forward, this means that any award ticket can be redeposited online so long as it's canceled more than 60 days before departure.

American Airbus A321T (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

There are still a few other requirements for being eligible for automatic mileage reinstatement. The reservation must be on American Airlines flights only and booked through the U.S. version of the website. Additionally, travel must not have begun, and no other changes have been made to the trip since the ticket was issued.

Related: American's new change-fee policy removes some flexibility

If you fit the bill, then you'll automatically get your miles back into your account within 48 hours of canceling your trip online.

Note that under this new policy, Executive Platinum travelers should now receive automatic reinstatement of miles on virtually all American-operated award tickets ticketed on the U.S. version of AA.com — since reinstatement fees are waived on all tickets, regardless of how far in advance you cancel your flight.

For all other trips, you'll still need to call AA to cancel and redeposit your miles. However, the expanded eligibility is another step in the right direction — and one that I hope continues to get expanded in the near future.

All photos by the author.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

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5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
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  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.